Freelance Bidding Online: 5 Steps to Reeling in the Big Fish

Having achieved full time freelance status as a writer in less than ten months, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. First of all, bidding for jobs on freelance sites has been where I’ve found the majority of my work, so that is what this article is going to focus on.

Many writers have tried bidding for jobs on the many different freelance sites available and have become quickly discouraged with the low pay being offered and the difficulty of winning contracts. I will admit, it does take some patience and perseverance to develop a steady stream of work off these sites, but it can me done. Below are the five steps I followed to achieve my goal of being a full time freelance writer by bidding online.

  1. Get out on the water: Profile. When a potential client receives a bid from you as a freelancer, they may go beyond reading your proposal and your sample work attached to the bid and look up your profile as well. Providing a profile that shows a wide spectrum of knowledge but certain areas of expertise can be very helpful in getting employers to hire you. In addition, employers will often do a search on freelance sites for writers who have certain keywords in their profiles and then invite those freelancers to bid on their projects.

  2. Troll the depths: Daily project scanning. Several of the freelance sites will make this easy for you by either sending you email updates or allowing you to sign up for an RSS feed for projects that match your profile. Whether it is logging onto the site or scanning through your feeds, you will want to scan through the new postings daily to look for projects that would be a good match for your talents.

  3. Casting strategies: Selecting the right projects. Most freelance sites provide you with a limited number of bidding points per month, depending upon the type of membership you have with them. You can easily use up your bidding points and waste a lot of time bidding on projects that aren’t really worth your time, so be selective. If you’re a writer in the U.S., look for projects that originate there or are targeted towards U.S. writers. Look at their project budget. If the amount of work required can’t be bid within their budget and still make a decent wage, don’t bother bidding. Look for projects that list the subject matter and demand high quality writing. If you can deliver factual and well written material, they’ll be willing to pay you a decent price for it.

  4. Bait the hook: Writing a winning proposal. Once you find a project you want to bid on, you need to make your bid stand out from all the rest to catch their attention. You can use a template to make it easy, but always customize each proposal to match the specific project. Restate the terms to show that you have clearly understood the details of the project. Then tell them why you would be the best writer to select for this project. Do you have experience regarding the topic? Have you written other articles about the topic? Do you have the type of writing style they are looking for? You need to be able to get them to look beyond just your price and look at your qualifications.

  1. Reel them in: Sample writing. Once you have peaked the client’s interest with your proposal, they will move on to reading the writing samples you have attached to your bid. Again, it is important that you do not simply use the same samples for every bid. Make your selection of samples based on what this client has said they are looking for. Attach samples that either match the style of writing they are looking for or the topic they are looking for. At times, you might have one article that matches the style and a totally different type of article that matches the subject. This is a great combination to use for your samples. Two or three samples pieces are generally enough. You don’t want to overwhelm them with a dozen examples when they also have several other proposals to look at.

This is a quick overview of the steps. I will be following up this article with more detailed information on each of these steps. After that, I’ll be providing some tips on how to keep your clients coming back and keeping your business growing. Stay tuned and keep writing.

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